Do you think your baby is ready for potty training? How do you know if they are or not? What should you do to help them master this big milestone towards independence?
Well, we are no experts, at least not ‘medical experts’ but we happen to have a 2-year-old in the family who has recently mastered the ‘art of potty training’ and we want to share with all of you what has worked and what hasn’t for us.
Our little boy turned 2 in February this year, a bit before that we started looking for more information about the ‘signs of potty training’. We came across this article on the Baby Centre website that helped us clear some of our doubts: Checklist of potty training
So you think they are ready. You notice how nappies start feeling more uncomfortable for them. They are more curious than usual when you go to the toilet. They can sit down and stand up on their own, and they seem more regular than before. Well, here are our best do’s and don’ts that you can try at home:
DON’T get them pull-ups
I know they look cute, and you think it will be quite handy because IF – I actually should say ‘when’- they have an accident they won’t wet their trousers. Well, we made that mistake and we not only spend a fortune on pull-ups, despite getting some of the most affordable ones from Aldi, but they didn’t work at all. For him, it would just be like wearing nappies. For us, it was a hassle every time we had to change a soiled nappy.
DO get them cute underwear
If you can actually go and pick them with them it’d be great. They can choose ones with their favourite super hero on them or something they really like. We got a bunch of plain ones to keep the cost low and some others with some cartoons that he loves wearing.
DON’T force them to sit on the potty
It can be quite stressful when you know they really need a wee or a poo and they don’t want to sit on the potty. It could be they’re scared, they’re just not in the mood or they just don’t mind. Our best advice here is trying to convince them or get their attention with something different. A stuffed animal that will sit on the potty first so they know that it’s safe or maybe one of their favourite books. Something that will help them forget their anxiety towards that new thing. It will work much better on the long run.
DO reward them every time
I’ve read in many other articles that rewarding them with a sticker every time they succeed it’s good for their learning. We’ve used stickers, but mostly we have always congratulated him, cheered him up, even if he had a little accident before but actually finished sitting on the potty and doing all the rest there, we considered that a VICTORY. So always let them know how well they’re doing. Look for all the positives, even if that positive was that they actually decided to sit down this time and not be scared.
DON’T rush the process of potty training
Every child is different and despite they say between the age of 18 months to 3 years-old the child will be ready physical and emotionally you will know best when it is the right time. I learned to go to the toilet when I was only 12 months old! -I know, I suppose my mum thought that nappies were too expensive and I had been walking for 3 months already,so you know, but hey! it worked- Our 6-year-old, however, was potty trained when she turned 2 and with our little prince we had to learn the importance of patience and knowing when to stop and start again.
As I said when he turned 2 we thought that he was ready for potty training. We could see almost all the signs on his behaviour but the truth is things weren’t going too smooth and we were all getting a bit stressed with the situation so we took advantage that we were going to have family around for a few weeks at home and we decided to make a break. We went back to nappies and only when he really wanted he would sit on the toilet or on his potty.
After that break we started again. This time it all made sense in his little head. So within a week he was really progressing.
So, as I said, let’s keep with some more tips.
DO ask them regularly
Without getting too annoying try asking them every hour or so, especially during the first days of training so they understand that it is a regular thing and they can recognise much better the signs their own body gives them. After a few days we extended it to two hours and then 3 and so on.
DO create a habit
So we have some times that we always encourage him to use the toilet. Those are:
–Right after he wakes up. Because, if things are going well his nappy at night most likely will be dry or just a little wet so he needs a wee for sure. Then they can already start the day wearing their favourite underwear.
–Before going to bed and you put the nappy for bedtime. Just as part of their routine. Actually for both of our children, they already know, before going to sleep: wee and teeth! (that’s a literal translation from what we say in Spanish lol)
–Before going out. If you’re going to be out for a very short period of time you might not need to ask but if you’re driving somewhere and you know that you’ll be out at least for a couple of hours then ask them to try for a wee or a poo. I always like to go safe on this one and so far it has worked quite well.
DO take the potty with you everywhere
It will be much easier for them to sit on their own potty than having to sit on a completely strange massive toilet in the shopping centre. Especially while they’re so young and it feels like those toilet seats could eat them alive in just one bite!
DON’T tell them off when they have an accident
They are learning, remember? They really don’t mean to annoy you or make your life more stressful but even when things seem to go well they might still have an accident. Maybe they got too distracted, maybe they were just holding it for too long. Whatever the reason make them feel your love and your support. You don’t need to ‘reward’ them for that, but they need to know that it’s ok and they can still keep trying.
DO acknowledge and embrace every milestone with them
I know there will be days when you will feel tired and you really don’t need all the hassle of potty training but trust me that they will eventually get it. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You don’t see any fully grown-up in their 20’s having accidents! right? Their body know what to do, you as a parent are there to support them and guide them only.
We are very proud that our little boy is now potty trained, but not because he made it earlier or later than other children but because we see the smile on his face. We see how excited he gets when he can do things on his own, like his big sister does. We are happy for him because he feels accomplished.
What are your best potty training tips? Let us know in the comments! Our next stage will be taking the nappy at night! A whole N E W adventure…